Types of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: An Explanation

The behavioral illness known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention. The patient’s everyday activities are hindered by these symptoms due to their severity. ADHD symptoms often start in infancy and persist throughout maturity.

Adults with ADHD often experience impulsive behavior, attention problems, and excessive activity. Depending on the many forms of this condition, each individual may have distinct symptoms of ADHD. So how many different forms of ADHD exist? Let’s investigate ADHD categories and associated topics.

Three Primary ADHD Types

Adults with ADHD often have three primary types: combination, mostly inattentive, and predominantly hyperactive. These several forms of ADHD are described here, along with a synopsis of the symptoms that go along with them.

Typically, this kind of ADHD is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive conduct. Adults with the diagnosis often have less inattentiveness symptoms, however they frequently have the following symptoms:

Males are more often diagnosed with this kind of ADHD, especially in childhood. Boys are more likely than girls to have hyperactive and impulsive symptoms, which increases the likelihood of this ADHD presentation. But as people age, hyperactivity may take on other forms. In adults, it often manifests as restlessness or trouble unwinding.

ADHD of the inattentive kind, formerly known as attention deficit disorder (ADD), is characterized by distractibility and inattention. The following are typical signs of inattentive ADHD:

The distribution of this kind of ADHD is more equal in boys and girls than in hyperactive-impulsive presentations. It is often seen in adults and teenagers since the symptoms of inattention tend to worsen with age. However, if the necessary conditions are satisfied, anyone—regardless of age or gender—can have this kind of ADHD.

The mixed ADHD type exhibits both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive behavioral symptoms, as the name would imply. If a patient exhibits enough symptoms of each of the aforementioned ADHD kinds, the doctor or physician will diagnose them with mixed ADHD.

Males are usually more likely to have combined ADHD. Since the combination of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention is more visible in children, it is often diagnosed in this age range. But like other forms of ADHD, it may linger into adulthood and impact people of any age or gender.

Different Forms of ADHD

Different Forms of ADHD

Alternative kinds of ADHD have been hypothesized, despite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classifying ADHD as the three categories covered above. For example, seven types of attention deficit disorder have been suggested by psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen in his therapeutic practice (although the American Psychiatric Association has not recognized it). Here is a review of them.

Over Focused ADD

People with over-focused ADD may exhibit negative thinking patterns or actions in addition to the usual signs of ADHD. They could struggle to focus, transition between tasks, and worry excessively all the time.
Both adults and children may have over-focused ADD. It is not restricted to any one age or gender.

Classic ADHD (Classic ADD)

People with over-focused ADD may exhibit negative thinking patterns or actions in addition to the usual signs of ADHD. They could struggle to focus, transition between tasks, and worry excessively all the time.
Both adults and children may have over-focused ADD. It is not restricted to any one age or gender.

Temporal Lobe ADD

The symptoms of temporal lobe attention deficit disorder (ADD) might include aggressive behavior, behavioral disorders, and difficulties with learning and remembering. These people might have trouble reading and adhering to instructions.

Age or gender is not a factor in temporal lobe ADD; it may impact both sexes at different age ranges.

Limbic ADD

In addition to the typical symptoms of ADHD, those with limbic ADD often have poor energy, diminished interest in past interests, and persistent low-level sorrow (not depression). These sensations are not the same as the melancholy or despair brought on by certain experiences in life.

Similar to other forms of ADHD, limbic ADD may impact people at any stage of life. It doesn’t have a gender or age restriction.

Ring Of Fire ADD

People with ring of fire ADD may also have bouts of excessive talking, hyperactivity, and unpredictable behavior in addition to standard ADHD symptoms. They could have quiet times interspersed with bursts of agitation and impatience.

Fire ring While ADD may impact people of any age or gender, school-aged children and teenagers may be better able to recognize the erratic and often severe symptoms.

Anxious ADD

In addition to the typical symptoms of ADHD, worried ADD patients often display tension, anxiety, and physical signs of stress such as headaches and stomachaches. Although they battle with inattention and high levels of anxiety, people of this type are typically less impulsive and hyperactive.

Age or gender is not a limiting factor in anxious ADD. However, when pressures in life rise over adolescence and age, elevated anxiety levels may become more apparent.

ADHD causes

ADHD subtypes are thought to result from a number of interconnected elements, while their precise origins are yet unknown:

Genetic impact

Certain gene variations, especially those associated to dopamine transmission, have been linked, according to studies.

The anatomy and function of the brain

Neuroanatomical variances exist across individuals with various kinds of ADHD. Changes in the prefrontal cortex, basal ganglia, and the connections between these regions—all of which are involved in executive processes, attention, and impulse control—are specifically included in this.

Pregnancy-related variables

Pregnancy-related exposure to drugs, alcohol, or nicotine may raise a child’s risk of ADHD. These drugs may disrupt the development of the fetus’s brain, impacting regions related to hyperactivity, impulse control, and attention.

Environmental contaminants

ADHD risk may be increased by exposure to certain chemicals, such as lead and some pesticides, particularly during crucial early developmental stages. These poisons have the potential to disrupt the brain’s normal development, which might result in long-term behavioral and cognitive problems.

Early life stress or trauma

Early life trauma or elevated stress levels might raise the likelihood of developing ADHD. These circumstances may alter how the brain develops and functions, which may result in issues with hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention.

Sociocultural elements

The development and manifestation of ADHD may be influenced by the family dynamics, the educational environment, and societal expectations.

How Can ADHD Be Identified?

To diagnose ADHD, medical professionals refer to the DSM-5 [1*] symptoms. Nine signs are exclusive to hyperactive and impulsive ADHD, whereas nine more symptoms point to inattentive ADHD, according to the DSM-5 manual.

Adults with ADHD may only be diagnosed if they exhibit five out of the nine basic symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms must be clearly noticeable in more than two contexts, such as the workplace and home, for at least six months. In addition, the severity of the symptoms must be such that they interfere with the adult’s everyday activities in order for ADHD to be diagnosed.

Which Physician Treats ADD/ADHD?

You may consult any of the following medical specialists for an assessment and treatment of any kind of ADHD:


They are able to deliver psychotherapy, pharmaceutical prescriptions, and ADHD diagnoses.


If needed, neurologists may offer a thorough evaluation and recommend medication.

Primary care doctors

They are able to evaluate symptoms, get a thorough medical history, and rule out any underlying medical issues.


Psychologists are not allowed to provide medicine, but they may conduct psychological testing to verify an ADHD diagnosis and give psychotherapy to assist patients and their families in coping with the difficulties brought on by ADHD.

Physician assistants & nurse practitioners.

They may provide evaluations and write prescriptions for drugs. Behavioral therapy or counseling services are also provided by psychiatric nurse practitioners (PMHNPs).

ADHD treatment

Patients with an ADHD diagnosis may be offered other treatment choices by medical professionals. Plans for treatment may differ according on the kinds of ADD, the symptoms, and how they affect day-to-day functioning. They all generally include either pharmaceutical management, psychotherapy, or both.


Adults with varying degrees of ADHD may benefit from behavioral treatment by learning how to substitute healthy habits for harmful ones. Additionally, it teaches children new methods to communicate their emotions.

Adults with ADHD may also benefit from family therapy, neurodiversity-affirming practices, cognitive-behavioral treatment [2*], and environment modification. It should be noted that treatment helps people develop better coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns rather than treating ADHD.


ADHD medications assist in lowering impulsivity and hyperactivity while enhancing the patient’s capacity for concentration. The following are the two popular drug classes used to treat various kinds of ADHD:


Due to their higher effectiveness, these are the medications for ADHD that are more often recommended. The primary neurotransmitters that control attention and thinking processes, norepinephrine and dopamine, are produced in greater amounts in the brain by these drugs. The stimulant drugs Adderall, Focalin, Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvanse, and Dexedrine are a few examples of ADHD medicines.


Although they take longer to take action, these medications help patients concentrate and pay attention better. Patients who are intolerant to stimulants, have a history of addiction, or do not get the intended impact from them are advised to use them. Non-stimulant medications for ADHD include Intuniv, Clonidine, and Strattera.